‘Is Parliament subservient to the cabinet?’

It is wrong for Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Paul Low to “suggest” that the report on indigeneous people’s land rights prepared by National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) from its inquiry be submitted to cabinet instead of Parliament, a think tank says.The Political Studies for Change (KPRU) said this was because no commission report  need ed to go through the federal cabinet before going to Parliament, since both branches of government are on par.

“KPRU believes that the “suggestion” (by Low,left) is unreasonble as all important reports by Suhakam should go straight to Parliament, without having to get approval from the cabinet.“The parliamentary institution should be raised as a main pillar of the Malaysian government, on par with the cabinet.“In other words, the legislative branch should stand as a main pillar alongside the executive, and not dictated to as a “legislative department” under the executive,” KPRU said in a statement.

Suhakam last week revealed that it had not sent its report to Parliament as it was swayed by Low to send it to the Prime Minister’s Department instead, so that immediate action could be taken.

However, the Prime Minister’s Department’s taskforce on the matter has yet to release its report, despite its April deadline.

In response, Low said his call was merely a “suggestion” and that Suhakam could still table the report in Parliament if it deemed fit.

Low added that the Prime Minister’s Department taskforce would present its report on which recommendations will be taken up “soon”.

Suhakam said it has prepared an action plan if most of its proposals are accepted.

Will the ‘land grab’ continue?

Meanwhile, KPRU said if the Suhakam report is not tabled and debated in Parliament, there would be limits to ensuring that any amendment to the Orang Asli Act put forth by the government would be in accordance with Suhakam’s proposals.

In a lengthy report today, KPRU said more crucial was whether amendments to the Act would carry on the new policy on land ownership (DPPTOA), which is heavily opposed by the Orang Asli and was also raised by Suhakam.“Suhakam commissionsers once said that the Orang Asli Affairs Department (Jakoa) and the authorities promised not to make any ammendments to the DPPTOA until Suhakam’s national inquiry (into indigenous community land) is completed.“However, Suhakam received complaints from Orang Asli leaders and NGOs that the policy has proceeded in Pahang and Perak, with surveys done and Orang Asli approached to sign agreements…

“Now that the national inquiry report is ready… Several questions must be asked: Will the report be tabled to Parliament for debate? Will the amendments made to the Orang Asli Act be made in reference to recommnedations by Suhakam and Orang Asli views? Or will the controversial DPPTOA proceed?” the PKR-linked body asked.

DPPTOA is a policy approved by the Regional and Rural Development Ministry on Dec 4 last year, which will see each household awarded only 4,000 square feet of land for a house and two to six acres of land for farming, relative from state to state.

The policy, which was done without consultation with the Orang Asli and does not acknowlege customary land, is seen as a “land grab” move.

According to the DPPTOA, any claim on customary land rights must be made through the courts.

Full report: https://kprumalaysia.org/2014/04/30/isu-laporan-suhakam-kelemahan-pentadbiran-jakoa-pokok-pangkal-kemelut-orang-asli/

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